FALMOUTH – Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles today joined Commissioner Laurie Burt of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), local officials, and legislators to announce an Energy Management Pilot for Wastewater and Drinking Water Plants, a program that will help 13 municipalities make their water treatment plants more energy efficient, saving money for the municipalities and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
MassDEP will take the lead among public and utility partners that will work in concert to audit energy use at municipal wastewater and drinking water facilities – a major contributor to overall energy consumption for many municipalities – assess the potential for clean, renewable energy at these facilities; and provide financial support for implementation of energy upgrades. Partners in this project include the Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources (DOER), US Environmental Protection Agency Region I, NStar, National Grid/KeySpan, Bay State Gas, Cape Light Compact, Western Massachusetts Electric, Unitil, Berkshire Gas, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the University of Massachusetts’Amherst’s Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and the Consortium on Energy Efficiency.
“Drinking water and wastewater treatment are vital services for protecting public health, but they consume large amounts of energy and drain municipal budgets,” said Secretary Bowles. “This pilot project will help a first round of municipalities reduce their energy use and save money for their customers – and lead the way for others to do the same.”
“MassDEP regulates water treatment to ensure environmental quality, but we also want to help treatment facilities reach the highest standards of water quality at the lowest cost, and with the lowest emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants that come from power generation,” said Commissioner Burt. “Working with our partners, MassDEP can help communities save money and make their water treatment operations greener at the same time.”
Statewide, cities and towns spent approximately $150 million per year for electricity in the course of treating 662 billion gallons of wastewater and drinking water. In Massachusetts, approximately 30 percent of municipal energy use comes from water treatment. If energy use in municipal water treatment were reduced by 20 percent across the board, emissions from power generation would be reduced by approximately 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide; 760,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide; and 250,000 pounds of nitrous oxides.